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Adidas Is Back In Racquet Market

Adidas has gotten back into the racquet market. Available Feb. 1 in the U.S. will be three Adidas performance lines that offer six frames. Each of the three racquet lines is named for an Adidas shoe model — Barricade, Response and Feather.

Adidas Barricade racquet

The four racquets in the Barricade line feature Adidas “Power Structure Technology” that the company says provides torsional stability and adds power to shots while increasing the sweetspot. The Barricade racquets retail for $185.

Adidas says the Barricade Tour, at 11.6 ounces, is designed for fast-swinging players who can generate power and are looking for additional control. It is the heaviest and stiffest of the frames. The Barricade Tour Light is 10.6 ounces. Both have an 18/20 string bed. The third racquet in this range is the Barricade itself, a lighter version of the Tour with a 16/19 string pattern. The Barricade Junior is for young players.

The Response ($145) combines power and control. The Feather ($165) is the lightest of the racquets but features the thickest frame for extra power, says Adidas. All the racquets are manufactured by Keentech. Visit adidas.com.

Van Horn Inducted Into USPTA Hall of Fame

Welby Van Horn of Lake Worth, Fla., is a grand inductee in the USPTA Hall of Fame. Van Horn has been involved in many facets of tennis as a player and coach. He was officially recognized and inducted at the USPTA’s annual awards breakfast during the USPTA World Conference on Tennis September.

Welby Van Horn

Van Horn’s career as a coach has spawned institutions such as the Welby Van Horn Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., and Welby Van Horn tennis programs in a number of locations. The teaching system Van Horn developed is still used today and it is featured in his recent book, “The Secrets of the Tennis Master.”

A star player and contemporary of other world-class players and USPTA members — including Fred Perry, Bobby Riggs, Bill Tilden and Bruce Barnes — Van Horn reached the finals of the 1939 U.S. National Championships when he was 19 years old.

“Welby Van Horn’s knowledge, commitment and success as a tennis player and teacher are why he is an exemplary member of the USPTA. It is an honor to induct him into the USPTA Hall of Fame,” says USPTA CEO Tim Heckler.

Muir to Head TIA

Jon Muir, the worldwide general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports, will begin a two-year term as president of the Tennis Industry Association in January. He takes over from Dave Haggerty, the president and CEO of Head USA, who became TIA president in 2007.

“I look forward to continuing the progress that our industry has made with all of us working together,” says Muir. “Staying focused on initiatives that further support the on-going health of our industry will ensure both our sport and industry continue to grow as we move forward.”

ASBA To Meet in New Orleans for Technical Meeting

The American Sports Builders Association’s annual Technical Meeting will be Dec. 6 to 9 at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans. The meeting will include presentations, seminars and a trade show. The welcome reception will be on Sunday, Dec. 7, starting at 5:30 p.m.

There will be about 30 different presentations and seminars, which run throughout Monday and Tuesday. Topics will include renovating existing clay courts, safety issues on the jobsite, fencing, surfacing concrete tennis courts, job scheduling, marketing, communications and more, including sessions on prepping for the Certified Tennis Court Builder exam and problem-solving roundtables. A dinner on Tuesday will honor facilities of the year.

The Technical Meeting also will be the introduction of the ASBA’s new executive vice president, Fred Stringfellow, whose company, King Stringfellow Group Inc. of Bel Air, Md., officially started with the ASBA in October. Stringfellow takes over from longtime executive vice president Carol Hogan, who is retiring.

For more information on the ASBA Technical Meeting, including the agenda and links to register, visit sportsbuilders.org.

HEAD Debuts 3 New CrossBow Frames

HEAD Penn Racquet Sports has added three new “power-loaded” racquets to its CrossBow line. The company says the new Crossbow 8, 4 and 2 frames now provide a full range of power for players with different swing styles. The CrossBow 4 will hit stores in early November and the CrossBow 8 and 2 will be shipped in February.

HEAD Crossbow

HEAD’s CrossBow technology features the world’s first and only dynamic bridge racquet construction, says the company. Designed for players with shorter, more compact swings, the frames feature a bridge suspended from the frame that moves independently, allowing the racquet to store energy in both the stringbed and the bridge, says HEAD. The two-piece design acts like a spring or bow that is loaded during ball impact and released as the ball accelerates off the stringbed.

CrossBow also uses 10 main strings though the bridge, offering a larger sweetspot than is found on conventional fixed-bridge racquets, according to Head.

“We’ve had tremendous success with the CrossBow 10 and CrossBow 6, and the Airflow line has been very popular for us as well,” says Roger Petersman, senior business manager of tennis racquets for HEAD. “We are really excited to bring in the three new CrossBow Racquets which will now appeal to a full range of players with various swing styles.”

The CrossBow 8 is designed for players with shorter, more compact swings, the CrossBow 4 blends power and control for players with a more moderate swing style, and the CrossBow 2 is a mid-plus frame suitable for power players with full swings. Visit head.com or call 800-289-7366.

Gamma Adds Zo Tour Rough 16

Gamma is expanding its new Zo Tour line of strings with the Gamma Zo Tour Rough 16. Zo Tour Rough uses Gamma’s new “Twist Technology,” which incorporates twisting of the polyester matrix just after the extrusion process, which the company says produces a rough textured surface for maximum spin and more control.

Gamma Zo Tour Rough 16

This textured surface combined with the original Zo Tour construction also produces a more comfortable polyester string that is easier on the arm, says Gamma. Zo Tour Rough, which comes in orange only, is available in 40-foot sets and 660-foot reels. For information, call 800-333-0337 or visit gammasports.com.

USTA Honors 13 Facilities

Thirteen facilities received 2008 USTA Outstanding Facility Awards and were honored recently at the USTA Semi-Annual meeting in New York City during the US Open.

In the Large Tennis Center (11 or more courts) category, the winners were: Arlington (Texas) Tennis Center; Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.; Gates Tennis Center in Denver; Huntsville (Ala.) Tennis Center; Mercer County Park Commission Tennis Facility in West Windsor, N.J.; and Surprise (Ariz.) Tennis & Racquet Complex.

In the Small center (2 to 10 courts) category: Fairview Park Tennis Complex in Decatur, Ill., and Thunder Bay Recreation Center in Alpena, Mich.

In the Private category: Ebensburg (Pa.) Tennis Center; Lake Charles (La.) Racquet Club; Manker Patten Tennis Club in Chattanooga; and Taos Tennis at Quail Ridge in El Prado, N.M.

In the Educational Institution category: Baseline Tennis Center at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

To find out more about the awards program, email facilityawards@usta.com or visit usta.com.

USTA Launches Phys Ed Tennis Curriculum

The USTA recently launched its new physical education curriculum, “The Physical Educator’s Guide for Teaching Tennis in Schools,” developed by renowned physical education and tennis experts including noted author Dr. Robert Pangrazi, professor emeritus at Arizona State University. The new USTA curriculum is designed to provide both elementary educators and students with a fun, interactive means to develop motor skills while engaging students in physical activity.

The USTA curriculum, which does not require an actual tennis court, is extremely versatile and can be used in any school setting for both large and small groups. In addition to teaching students skills they can use throughout their lives, each lesson includes group management techniques to ensure a dynamic and engaged class. To learn more, visit USTA.com/schooltennis.

PTR Offers Tennis iCoach to Members

The PTR and the International Tennis Federation will provide PTR teachers and coaches with special pricing on Tennis iCoach, an educational website that attracts more than 10,000 tennis teachers from 140 nations.

Produced by the ITF, Tennis iCoach allows teaching pros to keep up to date with tennis advice, tools, tips and educational tutorials, available in a variety of formats. Coaches can access information from tennis experts around the world. Tennis iCoach covers coaching methodology and development, conditioning, sport sciences, video stroke analysis, education and resources for teaching all levels of players.

“Tennis iCoach resources are not provided by just one association, but by many. It’s a great global resource,” said PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “Although the regular cost of Tennis iCoach is $100 a year, PTR members can get it for only $30.” Visit ptrtennis.org for more information.

USTA Ball Testing Facility Honors Carlton Anderson

Have you ever wondered what it means when you see “USTA Approved” on a can of tennis balls? Ball testing and approval is a function of the USTA Technical Committee, and on Aug. 31 the ball testing laboratory at the USTA’s national headquarters in White Plains, N.Y., was dedicated posthumously to the man who made the program a reality — Carleton Anderson Jr.

Carleton Anders

Carleton, who died in February at age 77, was an original member of the USTA Ball Testing and Equipment Committee (which later joined the Facilities Committee to become the current Technical Committee) and served the USTA as a volunteer for 41 years. He was instrumental in developing the first tennis-ball testing equipment for the USTA and continued to spearhead the ball-testing program for most of his years on the Technical Committee. Carleton performed the ball testing as a volunteer, assisted by his family and friends. Later, he trained the USTA staff and Technical Consultant to run the program.

Sheldon Westervelt, past chairman of the USTA Facilities Committee and a longtime member of the Technical Committee, spoke during the dedication ceremony, recalling many of Carlton’s contributions. Carlton’s wife, Peggy Ann, and children and grandchildren also attended the ceremony.

Today, the USTA continues to test and approve tennis balls, but with more advanced technology and equipment. Balls are tested for mass, size, rebound height, and forward deformation. The current program remains under the USTA Technical Committee and is run by Suresh Ponnusamy and Jeremiah Yolkut. In 2008, about 80 ball types were submitted by eight manufacturers for approval testing and 93 ball types were tested as part of the “off-the-shelf” program. — Peggy Beard

Nova Sports Chosen for Lithuanian Tennis Complex

The newly constructed Lithuanian National Tennis Complex in Vilnius has chosen Milford, Mass.-based Nova Sports USA’s Novacushion and Ultracushion surfacing systems for its 19 indoor and four outdoor courts. The complex is intended to be the premiere tennis facility in Eastern Europe and will be home to various national and international tennis events including the European Championships and future Davis Cup tournaments.

Lithuanian National Tennis Complex in Vilnius

The entire complex, which is expected to service 300,000 guests annually, will contain restaurants, shopping, fitness center and a 200-room upscale hotel. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas and Tennis Europe President Jacques Dupre took part in the Sept. 25 ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside representatives from the court builder, MS Sport & Design of Riga, Latvia, and Nova Sports USA. For more information, contact info@novasports.com.

USPTA Recognizes Leaders in Tennis

The USPTA honored its top teachers, coaches, players, volunteers and managers during its annual national awards ceremony at the USPTA World Conference on Tennis, which was held Sept. 15-20 at La Quinta Resort and Club in California.

USPTA CEO Tim Heckler of Houston received the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors the USPTA can bestow. It recognizes members who provide the USPTA with outstanding service and who dedicate a lifetime to raising the standards of teaching. Heckler has served as the USPTA CEO for 26 years.

Tom Sweitzer of Hershey, Pa., received the association’s top annual member award, the Alex Gordon Award for the USPTA Professional of the Year. Sweitzer, owner of Central Penn Tennis Service, has taught more than 50,000 hours of on-court lessons with more than 200 of his former students now coaching or teaching tennis.

The USPTA Star, recognizing teaching proos who make an indelible mark on their communities through tennis, was awarded to David Boon of Fort Collins, Colo. Boon has contributed to the growth of tennis in Fort Collins for over 20 years with his work with at-risk youth and recently establishing the only First Serve Chapter in the Intermountain area.

Jorge Andrew’s commitment to bringing tennis to his community of Lexington, S.C., and helping grow the game, through his involvement in several committees including the USTA junior team tennis national committee and the USTA Southern youth community tennis programs committee, is what earned him the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award.

Stephen Tscherne of Sylmar, Calif., received the USPTA Industry Excellence Award, recognizing business acumen and a charitable attitude. Tscherne is president of the Neighborhood Junior Tennis Program, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary, and has taught tennis to more than 1,500 children. The award is sponsored by the TIA and supported by Tennis Tutor ball machines.

J.J. Sehlke of Boca Raton, Fla., received the Facility Manager of the Year Award. Sehlke is the managing partner of the Coral Ridge Country Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Other honorees are:

The following have been named Player of the Year in their respective divisions:

USPTA divisions receiving awards are:

Cutler Receives Top USPTA Education Credits

At the USPTA World Conference on Tennis in September, the organization honored Alan Cutler from Whittier, Calif., as the top credit earner in USPTA’s Career Development Program. Cutler, a USPTA Master Professional and the director of tennis for Playtennisforlife.info, earned 123 continuing education credits, the most in the 2007 program.

Other top education participants for 2007 include: Holly Chomyn, Ken DeHart, Feisal Hassan, Brett Hobden, Jeff Rothstein, Brian Ruffner, James Shaughnessy, Keith Swindoll and John Yandell.

Education merit awards for 10 years of continuing-education participation went to: Tom McGraw, Patrick Kearns and Fred Burdick.

Six Earn USPTA Master Pro Distinction

Six tennis pros recently earned recognition as Master Professionals in the USPTA, the organization’s highest rating. Only about 1 percent of USPTA’s more than 15,000 members worldwide have achieved the Master Professional designation.

Honored in September at the USPTA World Conference on Tennis were:

Viking Expands Deal With APTA

Viking has been named Official Ball of all American Platform Tennis Association National Championships through 2013. The Viking ball had already been in use at the Men’s and Women’s Open APTA National Championships since 1999.

Viking platform tennis balls

“We are pleased that the APTA has expanded and extended our ball agreement in terms of scope and length of time and to be able to provide Viking balls to these high-profile events,” says Scott Winters, Vice President of Indoor and Paddle Sports at Prince Sports, which acquired the Viking brand in March.

“With the recent Prince Sports partnership and added product development and quality control practices put into place, already great Viking products are even better, so we decided to expand the official partnership,” says APTA President Mark Fischl.

Babolat Addiction String Hits the Market

Babolat’s newest multifilament string, Addiction, is for players looking for a blend of comfort, power and durability, says the company. It’s made of polyamide fibers (PA) and polyurethane (PU) matrix, with additional fibers making up a central core. Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) fibers provide an increased durability due to the low coefficient of friction, says Babolat. It comes in 16 and 17 gauge. Visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

Babolat Addiction

Peoplewatch

Retractable Roof for Ashe Stadium?

While the remnants of Hurricane Hanna forced the US Open to suspend play on Saturday, Sept. 6, USTA officials said a retractable roof will be coming to Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York.

“At this point, it’s a question of when as opposed to if,” said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s CEO of Professional Tennis. “Clearly, it’s in our sights.” A retractable roof is projected to cost about $100 million. Kantarian said there was no specific timetable for the roof to be in place.

Penn Tennis Balls Featured on TV Shows

Penn tennis balls were featured on the Discovery Channel show “Some Assembly Required” in September and on National Geographic’s new “Factory Floor” in October.

On the Discovery Channel, host Brian Unger took viewers through the Penn plant in Phoenix. National Geographic show host Marshall Brain also toured the plant and talked with Penn’s Jay Williams.

“It is great to showcase the quality and effort that goes into the production of each of our Penn balls,” says Jennifer Parker, Penn business manager. To view a clip, go to channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/factory-floor/3689/Overview and click on Episodes.

U.S. Juniors Sweep International Team Titles

The U.S. made history in 2008 with four prestigious international titles. After both the boys and girls won at the World Junior Tennis in the Czech Republic this summer, the Americans also took the Junior Fed Cup and Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It was the first time any nation has swept all four junior events.

The winning teams were:

Short Sets

Historic Club Converts to Nova’Pro Clay

The Garneau Tennis Club, in a city park in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, converted its seven asphalt courts to Nova’Pro Clay. The reconstruction began in October 2007 and was completed this summer.

Garneau Tennis Club

Originally built in 1929, the Garneau Tennis and Beach Volleyball Club is listed on the historical register for the City of Edmonton. The venue’s courts are the only red clay tennis courts within the province. The executive committee chose to replace the existing courts using a burgundy red clay topping with NGI Sports’ Nova’Pro Clay system. Upgrades were made to the court base structure, drainage and irrigation systems.

“Nova’Pro Clay proved to be the most economical way to bring a strong base to the facility while avoiding major excavation,” says GTC President Derri Thomas. For more information, contact 800-835-0033 or visit NGISports.com.

Prince Hires Squash Promotions Coordinator

The new promotions coordinator for Prince Squash is Damon Leedale-Brown. Originally from England and now residing in the U.S., Leedale-Brown has a long history in squash on the retail, coaching and promotions sides, most recently managing a high-end fitness center and squash program in Wilmington, Del.

Damon Leedale-Brown

In his new position, he will play an instrumental role in a variety of promotional activities, including overseeing player and event management; working to recruit, sign and retain players; executing player appearances and driving event promotions efforts. He will also assist in mobilizing a playtest team.

Leedale-Brown has worked extensively with England Squash on its World Class Performance Plan. He is an accredited professional coach through England Squash, a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength & Conditioning Association, and serves as a Performance Training Consultant to the US Junior and Senior National Teams.

Lee Tennis Endorses Wilson Clay Shoe

Lee Tennis Court Products, the maker of the Har-Tru surface, has endorsed the Wilson Trance II shoe as the shoe best suited for play on clay courts. The shoes will be tagged with Har-Tru labels to showcase their compatibility and playability on clay, says Lee.

Wilson Trance II

“We are excited about offering players with a love for the game yet another chance to raise their game to new levels and to provide them the safest and most comfortable playing experience,” says Randy Futty, general manager of Lee Tennis Court Products.

Pat Hanssen, Lee’s director of sales, adds, “The Trance II is the best shoe at balancing comfort and control safely on clay as well as all other court surfaces.” According to Hanssen, the Wilson Trance II provides superior traction with its full herringbone tread that wraps up the sides of the shoe.

“We’re happy that the Wilson Trance II received this breakthrough endorsement from Har-Tru,” says Cory Springer, Wilson’s marketing director for USA Racquet Sports.

PTR Hires Chief Operating Officer

Pat Decker has joined the PTR in the newly created position of chief operating officer. Decker, who has extensive financial experience on Wall Street, has owned and managed the Middlebury (Conn.) Racquet club since 1995. She also is on the board of directors of USTA New England and is vice president of the Connecticut Association of Tennis Club Owners.

Pat Decker

“We are excited to have the expertise and knowledge that Pat brings to the staff,” says PTR CEO Dan Santorum. “She will allow us to reach out further to provide great service, quality education and excellent benefits to PTR members worldwide.”

Tharp to Work With Rodney Street Assn.

Tina Tharp is the new managing director of the Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring Association in Wilmington, Del., a USTA NJTL chapter that provides innovative tennis and educational enrichment programs to more than 1,300 inner-city youth.

Tina Tharp

“I’m excited about the opportunity, particularly to work with Jane Brown Grimes, who has committed to serve on the RST&TA Board upon the completion of her term as USTA president in December,” says Tharp, who most recently was the executive director at Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education in Philadelphia. She also recently accepted the head men’s and women’s tennis coach position at West Chester (Pa.) University.

USTA Creates Tennis YouTube Channels

The USTA is creating multiple USTA-branded channels that will be dedicated to tennis on YouTube. The USTA will offer two channels, one for professional tennis and one for recreational tennis.

The USOpen Channel (youtube.com/usopen) launched in August in time for the US Open and included daily updates, post-match player interviews, an “Explore the Open” feature, and more. The second channel (youtube.com/tennis) will be devoted to recreational tennis and is scheduled to launch later this fall. The recreational channel will feature instructional videos, footage from local USTA events, and will allow users to upload their own tennis clips.

Ashaway Adds 512 Model to AMPS Squash Line

Ashaway has expanded its line of anatomically molded squash shoes with the new AMPS 512 model, which incorporates a new Anatomic Stability and Cushioning System. Ashaway AMPS (Anatomic Multi-Performance System) footwear is designed to support the whole foot, increasing comfort, stability and cushioning while reducing foot fatigue, says the company. Contact 800-556-7260 or visit ashawayusa.com.

Ashaway AMPS 512 model

NYC Honors Former Mayor David Dinkins in Flushing Meadows

The City of New York renamed the base of the passerelle outside the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s East Gate the “David Dinkins Circle,” in honor of the city’s former mayor and current USTA board member, who was instrumental in keeping the US Open in New York. “I love this tournament, I love this sport and I love this city,” said Dinkins. “I am deeply grateful that my name will forever be associated with this tournament.”

The circle, commemorating the 1964 World’s Fair, serves as the gateway through which most of the 700,000 annual visitors pass to attend the Open. Dinkins assisted the USTA’s relocation of the tournament in 1978 from the private club setting of Forest Hills to its current home in Flushing Meadows.

USTA Launches Tennis On Campus Website

The USTA launched a new website designed to serve as a resource for the more than 450 college and universities and nearly 30,000 players who participate in a Tennis On Campus program at their school. The official website of the Tennis On Campus program, tennisoncampus.com will provide an array of resources, materials and information to help support the rapidly expanding non-varsity side of college tennis.

The Tennis On Campus program, launched in 2000, features co-ed teams participating in intramural and intercollegiate (club) play using the World TeamTennis format on campuses nationwide. Tennis On Campus also provides college students with opportunities for leadership development, social networking and competition.

In addition to servicing current college students, tennisoncampus.com also offers an opportunity for high school tennis players, junior players and their parents to become more informed of the tennis “scene” on a particular campus. The site features team profiles, links to each team’s website and popular Facebook pages.

Some of the free downloadable resources available on the site include customizable marketing materials, fundraising resources, tips for tennis club leaders, and a guidebook for starting a club tennis team. The site also lists upcoming tournaments like the USTA Campus Championship Sectional Events and a countdown to the USTA National Campus Championship in Surprise, Ariz., in April 2009.

For more information, go to tennisoncampus.com, or e-mail tennisoncampus@usta.com.

Babolat Debuts XS Line of Racquets

Babolat has introduced a new range of high-performance racquets — the XS line — featuring Babolat’s new Xtra Sweetspot technology.

Babolat XS 102

Designed for intermediate players, the Babolat XS 102 and Babolat XS 105 are lightweight and maneuverable, says the company. The Xtra Sweetspot technology features an exclusive grommet design that Babolat says significantly increases the sweetspot while providing a dampening affect and a longer contact time between the ball and string.

Babolat XS 105

“Babolat’s new grommet design gives you a visible advantage over other mid-plus racquets because you get the benefit of a larger sweetspot without having to enlarge the racquet head,” says Folco Canonico, Babolat’s senior product manager of racquets. “You can have the extra power with greater maneuverability and control without having to go to an oversize. You’ll produce more forgiving shots with increased power.”

The XS 102 has a 102-square-inch head size and weighs 9.3 ounces, with a 16 by 20 string pattern. The XS 105 has a 105-square-inch head and the same weight and string pattern. Both retail for $119. Visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

Prince Offers ‘Customyze It’ Feature On Its Website

Prince has launched a new feature on its website that allows players to create their own racquet cosmetic. “Customyze It” on princetennis.com is now available for the O3 Speedport Black racquet.

Prince Customyzeit

Players not only can customize the racquet’s feel by choosing either String Hole or String Port inserts, they also can use the Customyze It tool to create their own cosmetic in more than 2,400 color combinations. After they design their frame, they can email it to friends, print it out, and find a local dealer to make the frame a reality.

The Customyze It feature is helpful for leagues and school and college teams looking to match their racquet with team colors and apparel.

 

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